Asia-Pacific must respond to climate change to survive: UNDP

May 10th, 2012 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, May 10 (IANS) The Asia-Pacific region must continue to grow economically to lift millions of people out of poverty, but it must also respond to climate change to survive, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said in a report released Thursday.

“The Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012 - One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate” said that what happens in the region - home to more than half the world’s population and which also has half of the planet’s mega cities - can make a global difference.

“Countries of the developing Asia-Pacific are much less locked into the old, carbon-intensive ways of production and consumption. Asia-Pacific not only has the imperative, it also has the opportunity to manage development differently,” it said.

Ajay Chhibber, UN assistant secretary-general, UNDP assistant administrator and regional director for Asia and the Pacific, said: “The world’s common future will be hugely affected by the choices that are made in Asia and the Pacific on a low carbon growth path. The goal is clear - reduce poverty, increase prosperity but leave a smaller carbon footprint.”

The report said that in the face of climate change, countries in the region “will need to change the way they manufacture goods, raise crops and livestock, and generate energy”.

This will mean “moving to greener, more resilient, lower-emission options that not only sustain the environment but also offer opportunities to the poor for employment and income”, it said.

Praising India, it said the country was committed to reduce emissions by 20-25 percent by 2020 compared to the 2005 level.

It said that in India, some crop residues such as rice husks are burned with almost no oxygen, producing “biochar” which is then buried to sequester carbon and improve productivity.

New Delhi’s environment department has been engaging youth by establishing educational “eco-clubs”, it said.

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